Monday, September 29, 2008

Winter project

Oh my goodness. I think I just found my new winter project...

Olympic Spirit

Here's a cool clip I found from the Games in Beijing. Canadian MTBer Geoff Kabush challenged Chinese Baller Yao Ming to a chugging contest. It was pretty close, but my money's on the guy with the gargantuan mouth. A pint is like drinking from a thimble this dude.

Nice work Geoff!

Thank you Chicago!

We're back home in Colorado after a wonderful ride in Chicago. Murphys Bleachers was a great host and we got to be right in the heart of Chicago - Wrigleyville! Almost 500 riders came out for the two-wheeled shenanigans. We crowned an Illinois State Mini Bike Limbo Champion - and pretty much had a perfect week in Chi-town. We'll have photos and results up shortly!

We found this photo snapped of the lovely Jackie on the Critical Mass Ride on Friday. Next Critical Mass in Chicago will be on Halloween! I wish we could make that one - it would be awesome!!!!
So...thanks again Chicago - YES - we'll be back!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Going to Mass

We asked on our blog about the best ride to experience a little taste of urban Chicago riding. Th Critical Mass was suggested and we just had to check it out. It's been going on for 11 years and is one (if not THE biggest of it's kind in the world). It happens here once a month and it's pretty damn awesome.

I've experienced one in Austin, many years ago, that was just so-so. This was a whole different type of experience. The concept of Critical Mass is about Power to the Pedal. It typically takes place on Friday around rush hour (as this one did). Bikes peacefully take over the streets and cars have to stop. Bikes roll the stop lights, make lots of noise, and generally have a grand ol time just being alternative transportation. We were a bit nervous about it since sometimes Critical Mass can be unruly and really upset drivers. But this one was really cool - with the large majority of folks laughing, happily waving, and generally enjoying the spectacle. So - here's some photo and video of the experience.
This is Alex, THE MAN, at West Town Bikes. He hooked up Hans and Jackie with some nice loaner bikes. Then he escorted us down to Mass with his LOUD Speaker Bike. Thanks Alex!

Hans - chumming with some locals before the ride.
We all gathered at Daley Plaza. Probably a couple 1000 bikes.
Jackie was super psyched to be riding in the big city. She lived in NYC for many years and she misses big city life. This craziness brought it all home for her.
We hit the streets. It takes about 1000 bikes to take over the streets of Chicago. we had twice that at least.
There were all sorts of bikes: pink and purple bikes...
old school bikes...
short short bikes...and tall bikes.
We rode to the North Avenue Bridge (a $25MM bridge with no bike lane) and took it over.

They were passing out a 'zine called The Derailleur. It featured Ezra Caldwell, a very nice fellow that we met in Austin last year. He's a modern dancer/bike/bike fabricator in NYC. He recently caught the cancer bug. While he's in the process of kicking it, he made himself an assless bike so he can still ride w/o affecting his nether regions (which were hit by the cancer). He's a cool guy and he makes cool stuff. Check him out.

And finally, a cab was swarmed by the bikes where a circle formed around the car in the intersection. There was no escaping the Critical Mass.

Ok - time for bed time. Tomorrow...Murphy's Bleachers...12 - 3...ChiTown PPU...see you there!

One more's another video with BMX riding. The chick's got a cool name too ;)


Just 2 more days until Chicago gets its first taste of the Urban Assault Ride. And to whet your appetite, here are some shots from last weekend's UAR in Minneapolis. If you'd like to forever cherish your memories of your MPLS UAR experience, you can pick up one of these photos here

If you're in Chicago this Friday morning, watch Fox News around 8. We'll be on talking beer, bikes, and big wheels. I'm trying to throw in the word "instupituous" into the interview. It doesn't mean anything - and I get a kick of throwing the reporters off sometimes.

And now some photos:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chicago - here we come!

We'll be making the rounds to the checkpoints and meeting with our staff tomorrow in Chi-town. We expect about 450 racers on Sunday - another big 1st year event. I have to admit - I'm a bit intimidated by the hugeness of Chicago, but I would imagine you all will make us feel welcome. Nothing like 8 kegs of Fat Tire to help make some new friends, right?

I'm planning on hitting the streets on Friday morning for a little urban ride. Anybody want to recommend a good ride?

Oh...I almost forgot. Here's the 1st Mystery Checkpoint Clue for Chicago...
This is the clue to the 1st checkpoint. Once you reach this checkpoint, you'll get the clue to the next mystery checkpoint. Get it?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Man of the turtles

Sorry Minni's - we didn't get the results up today, but they'll be there tomorrow - I promise. I need to get a ride in myself - I'm sure you all understand. In the meantime, if you want to read the tale of the winners, it's here.

This AM I got an email about the opening of the Picture Rock Trail in Lyons, CO. It's been a trail long in the making and it connects two of Boulder County's best trails: Hall and Heil. So I went to the 'ribbon cutting'. Kinda crazy - yesterday I was in MPLS with 500 new friends - and today back in Boulder. I tell you - air travel is something special.

So...I check out this trail opening and I see something I didn't expect...protesters.
It seems there are lots of NIMBY's (not in my back yard) in Lyons. They are protesting a parking lot for the trailhead. They think that the traffic from the trail would disrupt their peaceful way of life. Not to mention all the unruly, smelly, stoner, loud mountain bikers it would attract. Guess what? It wouldn't - I'm sure of it. But they want to speak their mind and they are very vocal about it. It's their right - but they are idiots, if you ask me.

Then - along with about 200 others, I hit the trail for the 1st time. Riding a new trail is like a surfer riding a new wave. A totally new soulful experience. And today, I took in some sweet new trail in my backyard. 5.5 miles - plus a super cool bonus climb that I inadvertantly found.
Here's the actual "Ribbon". It was cut and the trail was officially open. Some cross country runners took off first, then the bikes, then the horse ran past the bikes, then the bikes rode past everybody.
This is "MTB Mike" - he heads up the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance and he's largely responsible for making the trail opening happen. He's a jolly fellow who lives my the motto 'The world is run by those that show up" - we hear you Mike.
Here's some of the trail. There are many cool sections with substantial bridges, supports and banked turns. I'm going to be on this trail a lot.
More tasty trail...
This is John - we found the 'bonus climb', which ended at a locked gate. The cool thing about bonus climbs is that they can quickly turn in to 'bonus downhills'.
...and at the end of the trail was a rainbow. How appropriate.
And this leads me to the title of this post. On the ride home I found ANOTHER turtle in the middle of the road. I had to close my eyes as a car passed - nearly missing the little guy.
This is the 2nd turtle I've saved in 1 week. What's kinda funny is that the last TV news show we were on read this blog and was going to introduce me as "This is Josh Kravetz - he saved a turtle on his way to Minneapolis". They said it was attention getting and that it would draw in the audience. I was like "Uh...that's kind random and it really has nothing to do with the Urban Assault Ride". Then they were like 'ok - can you come out and do some tricks on your bike instead?' I said no - I'm not that kind of guy and offered Hans and Jackie to ride runt bikes while their TV personalities raced big wheels. But NOW - I see they might have been on to something. I've been saving turtles right and left these days. Soon, the UAR will benefit non-profits that save turtles. Forget this whole bike thing. When you think UAR, you'll think turtles. Or..something like that. Any way I laid my bike by the side of the road, ducked below a barbed wire fence and set this read-eared slider free in this lake.
Good luck little turtle. MPLS UAR racers - sorry I didn't get the results up today - I was preserving our wildlife.

Das Winners are....

"Wheels" and "Zito" took home the bikes with a smokin' time of 1:39! And -no they didn't cheat.
Almost 500 riders today at the MPLS Urban Assault Ride. What a killer time.

You can check out the other winner's photos here....and more will be posted very soon. Special thanks to the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center for letting take over the greenway and their space! With the money raised today, MORC will be building new trail for you all to ride - and I can't wait to ride them when we're back for the NBB MPLS UAR round two!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

That's what I'm talking about...

Alright - time for some shut eye before the MPLS race. We're SO EXCITED - hopefully we get some sleep.

We ended up with almost 500 registrations for Sunday. That means 8 kegs, the most burritos Chipotle can make in 3 hours, and a poo-ton of riders trying to win a couple of bikes. We also have some new demented contests for raffle prizes. Wooohaahaaaa ;)

You Minnesotans have some great TV.
High wheeler bike lessons - sweet! I didn't get any lessons - I just hit it (with chest protection of course.)

Packet pick up went well. Folks are finding creative things to do with our schwag.
Although - you're pimping 3 breweries here brother. I guess it's not so bad as long as NBB is one of them.

Tomorrow is probably the last chance to buy a 2008 Urban Assault Ride hat. Get 'em while they're hot. Jesse Swift (winner of 2008 Denver UAR) is pimping one here above 14,000 ft. Thanks Jesse. Hey you down for Monarch Crest soon?
OK...time to watch Kings of Leon on SNL. MPLS - I hope you like this band, we're playing lots of them tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

We love MPLS!

We've officially fallen in love with MPLS. You all have quite the sweet city here!
The day started out with a killer urban MTB ride with GeneO. Nice hard pack, tight single track, perfect for singlespeedin. Now I know why the city was once a SSWC venue.

Here are a couple shots from the ride.

I love trails where you bank the turns off the trees, keep it in one gear and just pump through the rollers. Fun the middle of the city no less. I miss riding in the city.
We don't have these Spikey-Poofs in Colorado. I'd hate to see what a poodle would look like after running through these trails.
GeneO: MTB tour guide, purveyor of fine bike art, and ambassador of urban cycling. Thanks for the ride GeneOWe met up with Jack and Hans back at OneOnOne where we enjoyed the warm day and planned another day of work involving runt bike, bike limbo, 8 kegs of beer, and lots of prizes.
And I finally got to visit the infamous OneOnOne basement. Lots to see down in this chamber of wheels, spokes, frames, and derallieurs. If only I had a couple more days in MPLS...

Then we met up with Kevin, the fine fellow who is letting us take over his stellar Freewheel Midtown Bike Center. It's funny how a big space will quickly become small with 500 people. We're planning for some debauchery this Sunday. You all be nice and don't pee in Kevin's sinks. He's a good fella for having us crazy kids spend the weekend.

And I've got to give some props to a couple good friends who received international internet recognition on todays NYC Bike Snob. Sol's bike shop, Austin Bikes is now famous due to the first photo in this post. And Ben sent in the photo at the bottom of the quiz. It was no doubt taken in Boulder. Home of nice bikes, brick sidewalks, and fratboys who need a lesson or two about the concept of the quick release. Nice Job fellas.

Tomorrow, we'll meet almost 500 Minneapolis bicycle boys and girls. Come see us at Old Chicago in uptown MPLS from 12-3. Buy us a drink or two. Sunday, the beers are on us.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I didn't really feel like dressing up

Fancy pants are over rated. Check Hans and Jackie in the background rocking the runts. Better work on those mini bike skills, Hans ;)

Minneapolis Mystery Clue #1

Good luck!!!

We're here!

We just landed in MPLS and we're getting everything all set for the weekend. We have a live TV interview today (Thursday) at 1:45 on Channel 5 - so look for it. We'll post more soon.

And guess what? Over 400 now for MPLS. The biggest 1st year UAR -twice that of any other in the past. MPLS - prepare to be blown away.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fall is here, hear the elk.

Today was one of those perfect weather days in Colorado. It's the reason we live in here. The leaves are starting to change and the nights are in the low 40's. When this time of year comes, Jackie sings, "Fall is here, hear the elk". It's from the White Stripes song "We are gonna be friends" - you know...the one at the beginning of Napolean Dynamite. You see, we had this debate. Jackie was sure Jack White was singing about Elk - as they mate in the Fall and make lots of calls to attract Lady Elk. I couldn't tell what he was saying, but I was pretty sure it was not about mating elk. Turns out I was right, but it still makes for a great little laugh nonetheless.

So, on this lovely fall day, Hans (our man of course direction and biodiesel truck maneuvering) left for Minneapolis. It's a two day drive and it's the last big trip of the season. We wished 'bon voyage', bright and early this AM.
I again felt like a Dad watching my kid head off to school. Happy driving Hans.
Then, after spending way too much time in front of the computer, I headed out on a ride. Into Lyons for some 'frodin' at Hall. The colors were starting to show...

But, it was one of those days when I wasn't feeling 100%. I hit the dirt for a bit, then decided to head back to Longmont. It felt good to be out, but I thought rest was more important before a big weekend (MPLS will be our biggest 1st year event ever!).
I almost got a ride home, but decided to tough it out. And it's a good thing too. I saw this little guy heading towards the busy highway 66.
I've turned more than a couple turtles around in my day. I suppose they look for better waters, or perhaps are sowing their turtle oats. But I hate to see cracked turtle shells on the highway. So despite this fellow's large talons, I turned him around towards the closest body of water (which was about 10' away). He snapped at me a couple times, but I was behind him. Silly little guy. Then I saw his tail.
He must have been of the prehistoric crocodialian turtle genus. It was a scary tail indeed. I hope he wasn't escaping the lake due to embarrassment over his enormous tail.

So, you know... just another adventure on the bike. Saving turtles, looking at leaves. That's how we roll out here. Lots of fun.

Tomorrow is the last ride until we head out of town. I'm thinking about heading up to Ward - a classic Boulder County ride. I gotta train for the ride with GeneO from One on One on Friday. Anybody in MPLS want to come along for a MTB ride in the AM?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What can I say... was a great weekend!The fun began on Friday getting ready to head of of town. I was packing my knee warmers when I realized that they would make a great halter top for our chubby and cranky cat, Olive. And I added some patriotic flair as well. She didn't like it so much.
Then it was off to help out the TDF crew set up in Denver. They had a great venue - City Park -and I hope it was a Killer event! Here's the main man, Chris Winn, kicking back after setting up way ahead of schedule (which was very impressive considering it rain 1/2 the day).
Then we stopped by Red Rocks for a G Love show. (sorry for the bad concert photo)
Then it was off to Breckenridge for a perfect fall mountain weekend (it was also Octoberfest). Kurtie, Chad, and I hit some sweet trails. Jackie kicked back and got a massage, read a new book, and enjoyed the weather.The trails we rode were awesome. The only other riding I've done in Breck are the trails from the Firecracker 50 - which are STEEP and just so-so fun. But we rode some rolling tight singletrack that was never too hard. Unlike Crested Butte where the climbs are epic in length, Breck's riding was just fun. Real mountain biking for sure. I can see why folks are willing to endure 7 months of snow to live there. There is one problem that really gets my attention: the amount of pine beetle kill. For those of you who don't know, the pine beetle is quickly killing a large portion of the lodgepole pines in summit county. Instead of a sea of lush green trees, many hillsides are rusty red - the color of dead pine trees that have been killed by the pine beetle.
These are the holes that the beetle burrows into the trees, then over takes them. It's really sad to see and it doesn't seem there's much that can be done. The beetles have always been there, but the cold winters usually kill them off. Now it's too warm. Global warming is heavily effecting the rocky mountains and this is one very visible sign. It's really tough to see such beautiful areas getting hit so hard.
There were some dirt jumps and a pump track behind where we stayed. I hit the pump track and Jackie and I took the dogs for a run. They loved the trails. I wish there were more local no-leash trails in Longmont!

So yeah...a great weekend. We take off for MPLS on Thursday and we're so excited for our two new races! Our biggest 1st year events ever.